Podcast – Episode 0078 – Are Your Actions Progressive or Regressive

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In this episode Joel & Antonia talk about the Pre-Trans Fallacy and whether our actions as people are progressive or regressive.

In this podcast you’ll find:

  • There are a lot of social changes going on with the world today (e.g. social groups forming against ISIS in the Middle East, legalization of gay marriage in the U.S., implementation of immigration policies, etc.)
  • As as a civilization, are we progressing or regressing? These two can be confused sometimes.
  • Ken Wilber started the integral institute and he formulated the “integral theory” which is basically taking different maps and models to understand people, sociology and finding ways in which they all integrate. So, basically, it becomes a universal theory.
  • One of Ken’s theories is the Pre-Trans Fallacy.
  • So what is the Pre-Trans Fallacy and how can we use it for personal development?
  • It is the thought that there’s not just two ways in going about things. The phrase “Pre” and “Trans” refer to different levels of rational thought.
    1. Pre-rational thought. Not quite as sophisticated (Developing Societies)
    2. Rational thought. Whatever it is that we’re currently experiencing (Developed Societies’ Perspective)
    3. Trans-rational thought. Anything that’s graduated beyond the current wisdom of the day. Something that enters an extra space
  • We have the tendency of seeing only “Rational” and “Irrational”. So what ends up happening is that anyone or any thought that doesn’t count as ‘Rational Thought” becomes other.
  • We could identify something that’s progressive as regressive because we don’t see the three different levels.
  • Example: You introduce an airplane to a village that has never seen an airplane before. Everything that the villagers/inhabitants see around them is rational. If an airplane lands, they will have a totally new different view of it; instead of seeing it as a technological advancement, they’d most likely see it as a huge winged creature because they never saw one before.
  • We as individuals do this all the time. In the previous example, the villagers thought that they are at the pinnacle of development, they got nothing to measure against and so they can’t absorb the idea of  an airplane or anything else than where they’re at now.
  • Society has been doing this all the time. How? By assuming that we’re already here, that we finally arrived in the modern world.
  • It’s hard for us to be open to the idea that there are more things to come.
  • The current generation is just getting too much information than ever before.
  • Even if we acknowledge that there’s just basically more to come, there’s still part of us that clings to the idea that we’re stable and we’re at the pinnacle in humanity.
  • Ken talks about the two styles of Pre/Trans fallacy.
    1. PTF-1. When we think trans-rational insights and objects as pre-rational.
    2. When we think pre-rational insights and objects as trans-rational.
  • Checkout this episode (Graves Model) to get a deeper understanding.
  • Our relationship and perception with health and wellness is a perfect example of a lot of Pre/Trans fallacy. For example, the issue with organic vs. non-organic food and marijuana use.
  • When issues lay in the table, we tend to look at something as regressive when it’s actually “progressive”.
  • It’s difficult to think in terms of third option because the foundation that we’re used to, that were built around teaches us to think in “either” and “or” and this could be the first step in unveiling the Pre/Trans fallacy to more people.
  • If you can stop thinking about these false dichotomies, you can start thinking about three vertical stages.
  • Be prepared if you take in this road because you might be attacked from all sides, other people think that you’re not taking any side.

Exercises we recommend in this podcast:

  • Find ways that you can begin to have more discussion about the Pre/Trans fallacy.
  • What are some of the things that you can do in order to set the example and help people find reconciliation and help them come together instead of opposing every time.

In this episode Joel & Antonia talk about the Pre-Trans Fallacy and whether our actions as people are progressive or regressive. #podcast #personalgrowth #kenwilbur

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Showing 12 comments
  • Anuradha N Santhanam

    Hi Antonia and Joel

    Thanks for talking about “and” choices. I mentor a lot of my friends and most of my personal development has been through these sessions. Always tell them them to go for “and” choices, but as usual I haven’t been practicing what I preach, so it was good to be reminded of the same.

    Btw, on a separate note, off late I don’t mentor, I just pick the most relevant of your podcasts and forward those. 🙂

    Also, the other thing I wanted wanted to mention in regards to “and” choices is a pattern i noticed while going through philosophical thought through the ages, starting with Socarates. It usually goes like this, one person suggests a view, and then after a few years of practicing that view, another person suggests a diametrically opposite view, give the second view a few year’s and then a third person arrives on the scene and marry’s the two diametrically opposite views and creates an “this and that” view. This view ends up being more than the sum of the parts and leads human beings to the next step of philosophical thinking. This pattern repeats itself over and over and over again.

    Just something I noticed. I am not sure what to do with the pattern. I suppose, from where we are right now in history, i would suppose we are in the “and” phase of modern philosophy (hopefully).


    Anuradha N S

  • Stephen

    Great podcast! I’ve noticed the same pattern thinking along the lines of “and/or” dichotomies. I studied math in undergrad and the “weed-out” course from lower division to upper division courses is one in deductive reasoning, sentential logic and proof-writing.

    Part of the course is translating statements into symbols and this involves breaking down a statement into its simplest form using conjunctions, disjunctions, negations (AND, OR, NOT). It turns out that the logical connective OR, in say P or Q, means that P can be true, Q can be true, or both can be true (inclusive). As it turns out, the students who don’t make it through the course have trouble grasping inclusive OR since it is much different than the way most people use OR, which is one or the other (exclusive)

    Later on we learned that “but” usually has the same meaning as “and,” especially when there is some contrast or conflict between the statements that got combined.
    It’s frustrating when there is so much emphasis put on distinctions less on similarities, but it suffices to say that this is something I think about a lot as well. After taking this course, I’ve started to rephrase what I say to sound as positive as it possibly could, including butting out the “buts.” 😉

    How weird is it to say that I’ve gone through some form of personal development using math?

    • Charis Branson

      Thanks for your comment, Stephen! Sounds like a fascinating class! Weird that some people just could not wrap their minds around the concept of the inclusive OR.

  • Jill

    Thank you so much for this podcast! It made me feel just a little bit less crazy. I have stopped voicing my opinion on most issues (certainly those that you mentioned in this podcast) as my opinions are typically met with some version of “huh?”. Democrats tell me I am a Republican; Republicans tell me I am a Democrat, and my uncle tells me that I am a fence-sitter.

    Listening to people debating hot button issues makes me worry for the world. You can typically tell which news personalities they listen to as they parrot back the soundbites with 100% certainty of their truth, and I get the sinking feeling that both “sides” are generally missing the point.

    On a personal level, I have come to the conclusion that either the world is upside down or I am. I have pretty much just accepted that and I tend to keep it to myself. It felt very soothing to hear that there are others who have had similar experiences, and that perhaps it is not so weird.

    • Charis Branson

      Thanks for the comment Jill!

      I totally get your opinion of the “talking head” political personalities. They drive me mad! They all seem so myopic!

  • Arabella

    Thanks for another interesting podcast – I learn so much from you guys and, above all, you’re providing me with a terminology and models for the issues that I’ve been focusing on in my growth and haven’t had labels for. As an INFP I find the pre-trans fallacy to be a huge challenge – after all, the dichotomy of “good” vs. “bad” is a key component of my mental processing through Fi! Thankfully, I’ve been working a lot on Ne development which for me seems to be the key to addressing a lot of the issues you mentioned in this podcast. And I’m definitely going to work on removing “but” and “or” from my vocabulary (I actually had a couple of “buts” in this post and as you can see, it still works with “and” instead!).

    • Charis Branson

      Thanks for the feedback, Arabella! I’m glad you enjoyed the podcast. 🙂 I never thought about the negative connotations of the word “but.” I will definitely be paying more attention to its usage.

    • Stephen

      I don’t think you need to remove “or” from your vocab. Instead, redefine its meaning. The type of OR most people use is of the “black or white” variety, which is very exclusive. In fact, this is literally called the “exclusive OR.” A different type of OR exists (called the inclusive OR), and it operates as: one or the other with the possibility of both! This OR isn’t so myopic and is more inviting since it offers an upbeat possibility of having a third option. Using OR like this will baffle people. It’s pretty fun to use and think about as well =)

  • Amber

    this weeks podcast made me think of a philosophy that I have tried to employ over the last few years and I wanted to share it with you. It is that “truth exists in tensions.” Basically, truth can be found in that space where ideas can seem to contradict. I have found this super helpful in navigating a lot of the dichotomies and I hope it might help others. Thanks for the podcast, I really enjoy listening to you every week

    • Charis Branson

      Thanks for the comment, Amber! That is an interesting model you have there. My husband always says, “If you take this person’s truth and that person’s truth, you will find the actual truth somewhere in the middle.” Is that similar to your model?

  • Randy Caba

    Oh, you two… your Ns are just all aglow 🙂

    And thank goodness. Broader perspectives are seriously lacking with too many commercial outlets supporting narrow divisional views. BTW, I love your approach of including all personality types as equally necessary. Whether it be Evolution, a Creator, just Mother Nature or Whatsoever, obviously our differences are essential or they likely would not exist. No matter, here we all are and we best learn to progress. I love the Car Model, Developing your Co-Pilot, and 16-Types one-word definitions too. This INTJ is all grins and ears.

    • Charis Branson

      Lol Randy! “All grins and ears.” I’ve never heard that one before, but it paints a comical image. 🙂 I’m glad you are enjoying the content. Thanks for commenting!

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